Taming a Hot Spot: An Organized Entry


Organizing Around the Home: How we use what works for us to make our home our own. A new series where I'm sharing not just tips and tricks, but the thoughts behind what works for us, and sometimes, what didn't! | ScatteredSquirrel.com


Happy Friday!  It’s a long weekend here in Canada, with Monday being Victoria Day, and what better way to kick it off than with a little taming of the chaos around the home and a free printable?


Organize your entry way so that it works for you, and you'll find you don't have to spend as much time taming the clutter. | ScatteredSquirrel.com


Today I want to talk a little bit about hot spots.  I don’t know if it is the same in your house as it is in mine, but flat surfaces seem to be an open invitation for clutter.


On the journey to a more organized home, taming hot spots can be the biggest challenge, but if you approach them with the right attitude, they can turn into your biggest successes!




Hot spots aren’t just clutter magnets, they can be used as a tool to help you learn so much about your home and how you live in it.  They show you:

  • What’s working
  • What isn’t
  • How you are using a space
  • How others are using the space
  • What items you need to address
  • What to consider when making a plan to organize that space

The more information you have, the better prepared you can be moving forward.  My nerdy-ness is going to show through here, but I take notes when I tackle the hot spots in my home.  I jot down lists on note paper, sticky notes, whatever is on hand.  Over time, going through those notes can be a real eye-opener.  On the other hand, having all those pieces of paper floating around causes its own hot spot.  So, I did what I always do, and whipped up a printable to help me keep all that info in one spot, and it’s going to find a home in my Home Organizer.  One for each room I think.  (You can find the first post on that here, and don’t forget to send in your request for your personalized cover page by filing out the form here)


Use this free printable hotspot track as tool to help you organized those areas that seem to attract clutter. | ScatteredSquirrel.com


The goal for this planner page is to allow me, and you, to:

  1. Create a goal or vision for the space
  2. Analyze the hot spot periodically
  3. Keep track of the items that end up in the space
  4. Keep track of what systems are working
  5. Make a plan for possible solutions (these might be short term)
  6. Allow for dreams and long term planning

Allow me to walk you through how I used it to help figure out how to tame our entry way chaos.  I started with this.


This is what happens when I try to make us work to a system rather than the other way around. |ScatteredSquirrel.com


That table is a magnet for stuff.  I tackle this spot at least once a week.  I begin by noting things that are there; toys, hair stuff, random papers that don’t need to be kept, charger cords, stuff to go upstairs, and so on.  Looking at the notes I made on the Hot Spot Tracker, I can see that many of these things keep ending up here, and I know that I need to create some new systems.  Looking the other way, toward the door, there are two more ‘hot spots’.


It was supposed to be a place to sit to put on or take off shoes... | ScatteredSquirrel.com


The chair is from our hold dining room set, and I put it here to give us a place to sit down when putting on or taking off our shoes.  Instead it seems to collect bulkier items that we drop when we come in.


This little drop 'zone' seems to a popular place for newspapers. |ScatteredSquirrel.com


And here is a pile of newspapers.  It never fails, all four of us drop the papers there when we bring them in.  Don’t ask me why, we just do!  I go through the papers and flyers once a week, before putting them in the recycle bin just before pick up day.

After looking over my notes, paying close attention to the items that continual pop up in this space, as well as typical behaviors of my family and myself, I was able to create a plan to organize this space for how we use it.


Oh so much better! Now our entry says, welcome, please come in and stay awhile. | ScatteredSquirrel.com


Now that is a much more welcoming entry!  I’m on the hunt for a basket to use on the stairs for those items that end up on the table waiting to go upstairs.  I got rid of the little green basket that seemed to just collect junk.  We don’t sort our mail here, so having a spot for mail didn’t make sense.  In its place is a little wooden tray (actually it’s the lid for the vase/box thing on the corner of the table but I liked it as a tray) that holds sunglasses and keys.  I wouldn’t mind getting something a little bigger so that I can have a spot for each of us. I may have to get creative with that idea.

As for the box in the corner there, well that is a prime example of how to create a system that works for you rather than trying to make yourself work to a system.


Instead of changing my behavior to fit a system, I changed the system to fit my behavior. |ScatteredSquirrel.com


So, I’m a scatter-brain. I freely admit this, in fact I embrace that side of me because it’s so much a part of who I am.  But it does come with its drawbacks.  Our morning routine is a prime example.  I know we have to get up and get ready for school/work.  Liam is at the age where he is pretty much self-reliant for most of that process.  I make breakfast and go over his teeth (dentists orders for optimal cavity prevention!) and he get dressed, washes his face etc… His hair though, well we both tend to forget about that until we’re rushing out the door.  Over time the hair gel, water in an old hairspray bottle and comb kept migrating downstairs from the boys’ bathroom upstairs.  I started keeping them in the downstairs half bath, but as you can see in the before photos, they kept finding their way back to the entry way table.  The half bath is literally only four steps from that table.  (I know because I counted them) and really it shouldn’t be so hard to take those steps to make sure we tame the bed head before heading out the door.  I also realize, we could do the hair when we brush the teeth, but somehow that never happens.  I’ve been in a constant battle trying to change how we do things to suit what I think of as convention.  Then I had an epiphany! Why fight this?  Why try to change our habits and behavior to fit the system, when it would be much easier to change the system to fit our habits?


Stop trying to work for the system, instead, make the system work for YOU!


I’ve had this set up like this for a week, and I’m loving it.  The hair products and sunscreen are all contained and concealed, but they are easy to grab when needed as we’re getting ready to head out the door.  I’m not fighting against myself anymore, and our mornings are so much the better for it.  Riding the triumphant wave of getting something right, I turned my attention the other side.


Now that's a place to sit and take off or put on your shoes. | ScatteredSquirrel.com


No real systems in place in this corner.  For now I’m just making sure to put things away when we come in.  I wouldn’t mind getting a basket for under the chair, but that might just be asking for trouble.  As for the other corner….


Work with a habit, instead of against it, by using a basket to help control the mess. |ScatteredSquirrel.com


… I opted not to fight the habit.  A basket gives the papers a place to land when they come in, and it’s easy enough to grab the basket when I go through the papers.  It was such a small change, but it made such a big difference.  It’s hard to convey it in pictures, but it feels more intentional to me, and less cluttered.  The current basket is a little too small, width wise, but the depth is perfect for the weekly papers.  All in all, I’m so happy with the difference.

Now, I’m sure I could have come up with solutions without the Hot Spot Tracker, but I’m not sure I would have gained the same insights.  Being able to see the reoccurring items in the What’s There column really helped me tailor this space to fit our needs, and it allowed me to make plans for down the road, and it gives me a place to keep all that info together.  Finding what works for us, even if it doesn’t make sense to anyone else, is such an incredible feeling.  Don’t ever be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to organizing your home, sometimes the solution you need just can’t be found inside.

Now, to tackle the entry closet.  Any one have any tips for keeping mirror door clean?  If we weren’t renting, those would be getting switched out for something else.  lol  As always, to get a copy of the printable seen in this post, simply click the image of it.  And just because I’m still so thrilled with my organized entry, here’s one more before and after.



What organizing projects have you been working on?  Do you have a system that seems a little outside the typical norm, yet works beautifully for you?  I would love to hear about it!


Happy Organizing!


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